Blood, Tears and a few F-bombs, a hike up Mt. Crescent (April 18, 2013)

Northern Presidentials

Northern Presidentials

Our morning started off like any other morning we have in the White Mountains, debating what to hike for the day.  Mike suggested Imp Face, I suggested Mt. Crescent.  I was leery of  Imp, because according to the bible of the White Mountains, it had a water crossing that could be tricky in high water.  The two articles I read about Mt. Crescent didn’t mention water crossings, so we decided to go to Mt. Crescent.

We arrived at the trailhead off of Randolph Rd, in Randolph, NH around 9:30 a.m. Had enough room to park two cars.  The trail was snow packed, but we were prepared with micro spikes and snowshoes.

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at the start of the trail

at the start of the trail

I started off this hike feeling happy, should be a little easy jaunt up to a mountain and back.  I forgot that spring hiking in the mountains covered in snow is hard work, tiring and can be frustrating. It started off just fine, able to walk on top of the snow. Who knew it would end with some blood, tear smeared face, and legs that didn’t want to move?

starting off on the trail

starting off on the trail

This feeling of an easy hike was short-lived.  We hit a stream crossing or rather a few crossings and there were no snow bridges to help us over.

crossing the stream

crossing the stream

After the stream the going was not to strenuous and the weather warmed up, so a few layers had to come off.

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Along the way were a few blow downs that we went over.  One of these trees tried to get very personal with me, so hopefully the Randolph Mountain Club will be along to clear the blowdowns, so short girls won’t feel violated.

We stopped at the Castleview Loop sign, debating whether to get it now or on the way back.  We opted for on the way down (but we didn’t stop on the way down, it had started to rain and the view was gone).

Castleview Loop jct.

Castleview Loop jct.

We decided at this point to put on our micro spikes, as we were starting to post hole.  But even that didn’t help, we should have put on our snowshoes, at this point.

Postholing

Postholing

It was a steady uphill to the south viewing area.

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It was hard work and my little legs were starting to tire.  Along the way we discovered moose activity and by his scat, I would say there was a BIG moose lurking in the woods.

Moose scat

Moose scat

This was a typical white mountain trail, full of false hope. What do I mean?  Just when you think you might be at the summit, the trail switches back and you have to face another uphill slog. We were almost to the South Viewpoint.

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and then…Mike starts yelling, the views are worth it and there is a horse in the sky.  I get the views, but a horse…

Last push up...

Last push up…

There is a horse up there

There is a horse up there

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We enjoyed the views and started the trek over to the North Viewpoint.  If the trail was free of snow, it would only be a five-minute walk, but the snow slowed us down.  It took us an agonizing 20 minutes to get to the other view.   This is where the blood, tears and f bombs started to happen.  We should have put on our snowshoes here, but we didn’t.  We were postholing almost every other step.  At one point I fell into a tree, gouging my hand on a branch nub, the blood started to trickle out, luckily just a minor flesh wound.

It only got worse for me.  I postholed and was stuck.  My foot was NOT coming out of the snow, I felt my boot slipping off, Mike was way ahead.  I had to yell for him to get me out.  Of course, I started to panic, what happens if we both get stuck?  OMG, I’m gonna be frozen in place and wait it is starting to rain, oh lord, I’m gonna get hypothermia, I’m stuck….Luckily Mike picked me up from my pack and dragged me out.  When we reach the second view, I didn’t spend much time looking at it…I just want to go home….

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At this point we put on our snowshoes, but it didn’t get better.  As soon as I put them on and tried to move, I stepped on myself and down I went.  I just put my head on the snow and started to cry.  I’m hungry (I didn’t eat enough food, I latter realized), I’m wet and my little legs are so tired.  I have my pity party and get up, while saying a million f bombs (and I’m not a big swearer).

What could happen next?  An unintentional butt slide, my first one ever.  It was a bit scary, but luckily my handy walking stick stopped me and I soon righted myself.   Not five minutes later, a longer butt slide happened, but this time, I just laughed instead of freaking out.

We stopped taking pictures and just wanted to get to the car as fast as possible.  I could tell my legs were tired, I kept falling but picked myself up and kept going, really what choice did I have?

So I left blood, tears, post holes, butt slide marks on the trail and I am sure the mountains are still echoing my f bombs today. Would I do this trail again?  Not sure.  Did I enjoy the hike? Not sure.  Am I glad I did it? Not sure.  What am I sure of…I am more capable than I think I am and I have to stop being so whiny when I get tired.

Details: Mt. Crescent trail off of Randolph Hill Road.  This was a long slow trudge, 3.8 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain in 4 hours 30 minutes.

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